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A Singer-Songwriter’s Favorite Movie Music

Class Actress’ Elizabeth Harper on the film soundtracks that have influenced her most

The sultry sound of singer and songwriter Elizabeth Harper’s voice on Movies, her latest EP under the moniker Class Actress, pays homage to everything she learned growing up—not from her parents, not from her friends, but from film. Harper calls Movies the soundtrack to her life. “I started watching movies all the time because I was alone and they were so fascinating,” Harper says. “I remember my first therapist said to me, ‘Oh my god! Your idea of love is from the movies.’ And I was like, ‘Doesn’t everyone learn about love that way?’”

So, it’s not entirely surprising that when it came time to make her new EP, Harper opted to work with producer Giorgio Moroder, who’s not only a dance music legend, but also worked on the sounds behind some very memorable movies. “Working with Giorgio was magical,” Harper says. “I didn’t even know he did Top Gun and Midnight Express, I just thought to myself that he had to be involved in Movies

In honor of the EP’s release on June 23, Harper talked to DuJour about some of her top film soundtracks of all time.

Requiem For A Dream

“This soundtrack is so minimal and amazing. It was composed by Clint Mansell and performed by the Kronos Quartet. To me, the movie is about love addiction as well as drug addiction. When you deal with addiction anywhere, you trade reality for fantasy. The journey of self-discovery and healing is about figuring out there’s not much difference between being fucked up and being sober. There is, but there isn’t.”

Betty Blue

“This is an old, classic French film. The soundtrack is by a guy named Gabriel Yared. It’s just so beautiful and it’s got this really beautiful track with a saxophone in it. I probably like it so much because the movie is really dark. The soundtrack just has this really sexy, beautiful sound. 

Drive

“Well, this soundtrack is like a top 10. It has this kind of neo-noir sound. You can recognize that my music is neo-noir as well. It is electronic and is so perfect in a movie like this. I love it so much because I wish I was on that soundtrack. 

Donnie Darko

“This is such an interesting film. I guess the movie is supposed to take place in the 1980s and it has a lot of music from that time. It was such a trippy movie and the music really reflects that. They did such a great job of making it seem like you did know or you didn’t know. I thought the ambiguity to it was really beautiful. And that’s what horror is about and what life is full of—you never really know.”

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